La Crema highlights it’s Russian River Valley’s beginnings with its historic new tasting room.
A little romance backstory. Saralee McClelland and her future husband Richard Kunde met at the Sonoma County Fair office. Saralee was a champion of the fair and the competitions involved. While Richard of the Kunde family of winemakers) had a deep love for farming and Sonoma County. Saralee was known as the Daffodil Queen. She purchased 100,000 daffodil bulbs. Then enlisted masses to join her in planting along the roadsides in Sonoma County. The daffodils bloom to this day as an expression of her love of Sonoma County.
“This estate is the ultimate expression of La Crema. It’s much more than a tasting room – it’s a lifestyle destination”
In 1980’s Richard & Saralee purchased 265 acres of blackberry and brambles on what is now known as La Crema. Not too long after they began planting vineyards and added a private park. The park includes a stunning pavilion and served as a venue for non-profits and events in the area. It is now known as Richard’s Grove & Saralee’s Vineyard.
Known as “The Barn” their home was the center of their world. Built in the in the 1900’s. it consisted of two kitchens. Each spouse had their own domain for the legions they entertained and cooked for. Those kitchens exist today each with surrounded in the tranquil setting of this estate. Vaulted ceilings with vast vineyard views, it is now the home of the La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard.
True to its roots and with an eye on the future, La Crema has embraced the history while uniting those aspects important to the Kundes. Wine, food, and heritage is an interwoven theme in this destination.
“This new estate is the ultimate expression of La Crema. It’s much more than a tasting room – it’s a lifestyle destination that will allow us to provide the elevated guest experience we’ve always wanted to,” said Caroline Shaw, chief marketing officer for La Crema. “Each detail was designed to engage with visitors, from longtime fans to new consumers, and keep them coming back again and again.
With multiple decks for relaxing and tasting, La Crema has the perfect setting. They’ve also focused on upping the ante for experiences. One can choose from several options from pairings to a picnic lunch. The goal is to bring people back to the Russian River Valley. The tasting room features Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rosé of Pinot Noir, and Gewürztraminer. The facilities are open for educational events, soirees, and tours. The grounds are beautiful, with forever vineyards stretching out before the vast views. Upstairs, there is a private lounge for longtime club members.
The wine is under the direction of Elizabeth Grant-Douglas who has been with La Crema since 2001. As Director of Winemaking she focuses on making wine that is true to the brand. Growing up in Niagra Falls, Canada she had the perfect backdrop for a future in winemaking. Her background includes winemaking from Canada and Washington to the Sonoma Coast. She is well versed in cool climate winemaking.
The delightful food of La Crema is guided by Chef/Cheese Specialist, Tracey Shepos Cenami. An Artisan Cheesemaker, she plays a key role. From creating the menu for VIP pairings and experiences. The focus is creating perfect pairings featuring local cheeses chosen for La Crema Wines.